The monograph by Professor Guntars Prānis, Rector of the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music, provides unique information on the oldest period of Latvian music history – the Gregorian chants in 15th century Riga and the beginnings of Latvian professional music in the medieval musical events of Riga, which were closely linked to the repertoire of the world music history – Gregorian chant.
Gregorian chant is a unique cultural and historical phenomenon in the world of music, and the first written documentations of music in Livonia are to be found in the manuscripts of Gregorian chants contained in the 15th-century Missale Rigense (Riga Missal), a very significant book in Latvian history. Using this unique document as the main source, the research examines the local Gregorian tradition in Riga and offers new insight into events from Livonian music history.
The subject of the research is the Riga Missal and the musical materials it contains. Even though this manuscript is the focus of the study, it must nevertheless be studied, analysed and evaluated within the context of much wider regional and European contexts. This book therefore does not confine itself only to the study of this particular manuscript; it also searches for answers to questions covering a much broader range of musical and liturgical themes pertaining to the Late Medieval period.
The main goal of this research is to study the Riga Missal and its social and cultural contexts as well as to make a comparative description, based on an analysis of the chants documented in the manuscript, of Riga’s Gregorian tradition in the context of Medieval European liturgical music.